Saturday, May 25, 2024

Picton ferry terminal design close to finalised

Work is progressing on Picton’s new ferry terminal, Marlborough District Council has announced this week.

The Waitohi/Picton Ferry Precinct Development is being implemented through a partnership between KiwiRail, Port Marlborough, Marlborough District Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

Known as the iReX (Inter-Island Resilience Connection) project, KiwiRail is building two new custom-designed ferries and working alongside its partners to redevelop terminals in both Wellington and Waitohi/Picton.

The two new, rail-enabled Interislander ferries will be more efficient and support KiwiRail’s goal to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2050.

Council says the ferries will be bigger and more modern than the current fleet and are expected to cater for 30 years’ of freight and passenger growth.

At Waitohi/Picton, the new larger ferries will require a new wharf and linkspan, rearrangement of rail yards and roading, and a new terminal building.

Over the past six months, the project development team has been refining the concept design and working through the commercial arrangements required to progress the project to procurement stage.

“Our design work has focused on identifying opportunities to shorten the construction timeframe, minimise disruption to the community and our customers, and reduce costs, while preserving the environmental outcomes sought through the project,” said Port Marlborough Chief Executive Rhys Welbourn.

“We are now able to move from concept to developed design, before finalising all design details ahead of construction,” he said.

“The revised concept includes key changes that will reduce the project’s environmental footprint, the impact on the community, and the time needed for construction,” iReX Programme Director, Stephen O’Keefe said.

“The design provides what KiwiRail needs to operate the new ferries, manage projected growth, and deliver a safe and reliable service, while also considering local community, port operators and visitors, and Port Marlborough’s needs.

Waitohi wharf and Picton town circa 1940

“We are excited to share this revised concept design, and we look forward to working alongside mana whenua and the community as we develop through to detailed design and then construction.”

The project is tipped to improve connections between the ferry precinct and State Highway One, and will enable KiwiRail to carry more rail freight into and out of the South Island.

“We understand the significance of the project to Marlborough and will continue to engage with iwi and the community as the project progresses. We are also committed to sustainable development practices to ensure the project delivers a balance of social, environmental and economic benefits,” he said.

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